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OpenOffice Impress User Guide
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Formatting areas

Impress offers many different options for formatting the fill of an area.

  1. Start by selecting the object to which the formatting will be applied.

  2. When the resizing handles appear, select Format > Area from the menu bar. The dialog shown in Figure 93 is displayed.


  • Select the desired type of fill from the drop-down list. The Area page changes to display the choices available for that fill style, as described on the following pages.

  • Select the required fill and its parameters, and then click OK to close the dialog and apply your selection.

    Picking the type of fill from the five available choices (None, Color, Gradient, Hatching, and Bitmap) modifies the entries in the list below and makes some new options appear in the Area page. The list is populated with the default choices for the selected fill type. If none of the choices is satisfactory, you can fully customize the fill by using the page with the corresponding name in the same dialog.

      1. Creating area fills

    Impress comes with many pre-defined area fills in four categories: colors, gradients, hatching patterns, and bitmaps. If none of the provided fills is satisfactory, you can fully customize them and create new fills. The following sections describe how to create new fills and how to apply them.

    On each page of the Area dialog, to modify the characteristics of an existing fill, change those characteristics in the dialog and then click the Modify button. (In some cases, you can also change the name of the fill in the same step.) However, it is recommended to create new fills or modify custom fills, and not change the pre-defined ones.

    1. Colors

    For color fills, select one from the list on the Area page, as shown in Figure 93.

        1. Creating colors

    On the Colors page, shown in Figure 94, you can modify existing colors or create your own.


    Every color is specified by a combination of the three primary colors (Red, Green and Blue), hence the notation RGB. To create a new color:

    1. Enter the name for the color in the Name box.

    2. Specify the red, green and blue component on a 0 to 255 scale. Alternatively specify the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and black (K) components, from 0% to 100%.

    3. Click the Add button. The color is now added to the list on the Area page.

    To modify a color:

    1. Select the color to modify from the list.

    2. Enter the new values that define the color (if necessary change the settings from RGB to CMYK or viceversa).

    3. Modify the name as required.

    4. Click the Modify button.

    Alternatively, use the Edit button (this will open a new dialog), modify the color components as required and click OK to exit the dialog.


    You can also add custom colors using Tools > Options > > Colors. This method makes the color available to all components of OOo, whereas colors created using Format > Area > Colors are only available for Impress.

    1. Gradients

    A gradient fill provides a smooth transition from one color to another. The transition pattern may vary from a simple linear transition to a more complex radial transition.

    If the predefined gradients are not satisfactory, you can create a new gradient or modify an existing one.

    Select Gradient in the drop down list on the Area page and pick the gradient from the list (see Figure 95). To manually input the number of steps (increments) that should be applied, deselect the Automatic checkbox and enter the number of steps required.


        1. Creating gradients

    To create a new gradient or to modify an existing one, select the Gradients page from the Area dialog (shown in Figure 96). Several types of gradients are predefined and in most cases changing the From and To colors will be sufficient to obtain the desired result.


    It is highly recommended to create a new gradient even if you just want to change the two colors rather than modifying the predefined ones which should only be used as starting points.

    To create a new gradient:

    1. First choose the From and To colors (Figure 97).


  • Then choose a type of gradient from the list: Linear, Axial, Radial, Ellipsoid, Square or Rectangular.

    A preview of the gradient type is shown under the available gradients list in the middle of the dialog. Figure 98 shows an example.


  • Depending on the chosen type some options will be grayed out. Set all the properties as desired (very often the default values will work well). The properties to set to create a gradient are summarized in Table 3.

  • Click the Add button to add the newly created gradient to the list. The gradient is now available to all the OOo components and also for future presentations. It pays to give it a memorable name.

    Table 3: Gradient properties



    Center X

    For Radial, Ellipsoid, Square and Rectangular gradients, modify these values to set the horizontal offset of the gradient center.

    Center Y

    For Radial, Ellipsoid, Square and Rectangular gradients, modify these values to set the vertical offset of the gradient center.


    Specifies for all the gradient types the angle of the gradient axis


    Increase this value to make the gradient start further away from the border of the shape


    Set here the start color for the gradient. In the edit box below enter the intensity of the color: 0% corresponds to black, 100% to the full color.


    Set here the end color for the gradient. In the edit box below enter the intensity of the color: 0% corresponds to black, 100% to the full color.

    1. Hatching

    A hatching fill is a pattern of lines that is repeated throughout the area.

    To apply a hatching pattern to an area, go to the Area page, select Hatching from the drop down list and then select the desired hatching from the list (Figure 99). To apply a background color to the hatching pattern, selecting the Background color checkbox and choose a color from the drop down list.

    As for gradients and colors, if the predefined patterns are not satisfactory, you can create a new pattern or modify a predefined one.


        1. Creating hatching patterns

    You can create new hatching patterns or modify existing ones. Start by selecting the Hatching page of the Area dialog. This is shown in Figure 100.

    As for gradients and colors, if the predefined patterns are not satisfactory, it is recommended to create a new pattern rather than modify a predefined one. To do so:

    1. Select a pattern similar to the one that will be created as a starting point.

    2. Modify the properties of the lines forming the pattern. A preview is displayed in the window below the available patterns.

    3. Click the Add button and choose a name for the newly created hatching.

    The properties that can be set for a hatching pattern are shown in Table 4.


    Table 4: Properties of hatching patterns




    Determines the spacing between two lines of the pattern. As the value is changed the preview window is updated.


    Use the mini map below the numerical value to quickly set the angle formed by the line to multiples of 45 degrees. If the required angle is not a multiple of 45 degrees, just enter the desired value in the edit box.

    Line type

    Set single, double or triple line for the style of the pattern.

    Line color

    Use the list to select the color of the lines that will form the pattern.

    1. Bitmaps

    The last type of fill for an area is the bitmap fill.

    On the Area page, chose Bitmap from the drop down list. Select from the list of bitmaps the one to be used to fill the area. Note that any imported bitmaps should be available in the list.

    Set the size, position and offset parameters (as applicable) in the right hand side of the page, and then click OK to close the dialog.

    As Figure 101 shows, when using a bitmap fill there are quite a number of parameters to be configured. These are described in Table 5.


    Table 5: Bitmap fill properties



    Size – Original

    Select this box to retain the original size of the bitmap.

    Size – Relative

    To rescale the object deselect the Original checkbox and select this one. The Width and Height edit boxes are enabled.

    Size – Width

    When Relative is selected 100% means that the bitmap original width will be resized to occupy the whole fill area width, 50% means that the width of the bitmap will be half that of the fill area.

    Size – Height

    When Relative is selected 100% means that the bitmap original height will be resized to occupy the whole fill area height, 50% means that the height of the bitmap will be half that of the fill area.

    Position – Anchor Map

    Select from the map the place of the area where the bitmap should be anchored to.

    Position – X offset

    When tiling is enabled, enter in this box the offset for the width of the bitmap in percentage values. 50% offset means that at the anchor point of the bitmap OOo will place the middle part of the bitmap and start tiling from there.

    Position – Y offset

    This will have the same effect of the X offset, but will work on the height of the bitmap.

    Position – Tile

    When this checkbox is selected the bitmap will be tiled to fill the area. The size of the bitmap used for the tiling is determined by the Size settings.

    Position – Autofit

    Stretches the bitmap to fill the whole area. Selecting this checkbox disables all the size settings.

    Offset – Row

    If tiling is enabled offsets the rows of tiled bitmaps by the percentage entered in the box so that two subsequent rows are not aligned.

    Offset – Column

    If tiling is enabled, offsets the columns of tiled bitmaps by the percentage entered in the box so that two subsequent columns of bitmaps are not aligned.

    The way some of these parameters work is difficult to describe; the best way to understand them is to use them. Some examples of bitmap fills are given in Figure 102 along with the parameters used.


        1. Creating and importing bitmaps

    As for the other types of fill, OOo comes with a number of predefined bitmaps, but you can also add (import) new ones or to create your own pattern on a 8x8 grid, using the Bitmaps page of the Area dialog (shown in Figure 103).


    To create a bitmap fill:

    1. Start with the Blank bitmap type on top of the list to activate the Pattern editor.

    2. Select the Foreground and Background colors.

    3. Start creating the pattern by clicking with the left mouse button the squares (pixels) that you want to be painted in the foreground color. Use the right mouse button to apply the background color. Check the preview window to see if the desired effect is achieved.

    4. When done, click Add to save the pattern.

    To import a bitmap created in Draw or another program:

    1. Click the Import button.

    2. A file picker dialog is displayed. Browse to the directory containing the bitmap file and select it, then click Open.

    3. Type a name for the imported bitmap and click OK.

    1. Formatting shadows

    Shadowing can be applied to both lines and areas. To apply a shadow to an area, first select the object to which shadowing should be applied, then select Format > Area.

    Shadows can also be applied to lines, but it is not very obvious how to do it. One way is to click the Shadow icon on the Line and Filling toolbar (see the last tool in Figure 104). The other way is to apply a style to the line that uses a shadow (see “Using graphics styles to format graphics” on page 117 for additional information on using styles).


    Using the first method, you cannot customize the shadow; it is applied according to the default settings. The second method offers full flexibility to configure the shadow properties. If the Line and Filling toolbar is not shown when selecting an object, open it using View > Toolbars on the menu bar.

    The dialog to customize a shadow is shown in Figure 105.


    When the Use shadow checkbox is selected, the following parameters can be set:

    • Position: the selected point in the mini map determines the direction in which the shadow is cast.

    • Distance: determines the distance between the object and the shadow.

    • Color: sets the color of the shadow.

    • Transparency: determines the amount of transparency for the shadow.


    By setting the transparency value above 0%, the objects below the shadow are not completely hidden by the shadow. This produces a pleasant visual effect, as shown in Figure 106.


    1. Transparency formatting

    Transparency is applicable to lines, areas, and shadows. To apply transparency to lines, refer to “Formatting lines” on page 123; for shadows, refer to “Formatting shadows” on page 141.

    To apply transparency to areas, select Format > Area and then go to the Transparency page shown in Figure 107.


    There are two types of transparency: one which is uniformly applied to all the area of the object, and the gradient one. To obtain a uniform transparency, select Transparency and then select the percentage of transparency required. For a gradient transparency so that the area becomes gradually transparent, select Gradient and then set the parameters of the gradient:

    • Type: pick between Linear, Axial, Radial, Ellipsoid, Quadratic or Square.

    • Center X, Y: for some types of gradient, you can specify the position of the center in percentage points.

    • Angle: the angle of the gradient, applicable to all but the radial type of gradients.

    • Border: the percentage of the shape (measured from the edge) that is not subject to the gradient settings.

    • Start value: the transparency value of the start point of the gradient: 0% is fully opaque, 100% means fully transparent.

    • End value: the transparency value of the end point of the gradient: 0% is fully opaque, 100% fully transparent.

    OpenOffice Impress User Guide
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